Events AY 2014-2015





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A Conversation with Author, Randa Jarrar


April 2, 2015


Randa Jarrar is an award winning novelist, short story writer, essayist, and translator. Her first novel, A Map of Home, won the Hopwood award, an Arab-American book award, and was named one of the first novels of 2008 by the Barnes & Noble Review. The novel is about the childhood of  the rebellious Nidali who moves from Boston to live a very different life in Kuwait.





Nakhjavani Flyer


Persian Women and other Lies: Story-telling as Historical Review


March 27, 2015

Bahiyyih Nakhjavani discussed her book “The Woman Who Read Too Much” and the lives of Persian women. The book tells the story of of the poetess of Qazvin, who some claimed had masterminded the murder of the grand Mullah, her uncle. As her warnings and predictions became prophecies, many wondered whether she was not only reading history, but taking part in it as well. A book signing followed this event.






poster Zahaak, BU


Zahhak: A Play from Shahnameh (the Persian Book of Kings)


March 22, 2015


The Boston Experimental Theatre Company presented Zahhak, a play from Shahnameh written by the famous Persian poet, Abolqasem Ferdowsi. Zahhak is an evil figure in Iranian mythology who became ruler after the Evil Spirit convinced him to kill his father.






March 19 final

Shahnameh: The Persian Book of Kings

March 19, 2015

The theatre collaboration directed by Vahdat Yeganeh showcases the most celebrated work of epic poetry in Iran by Abolqasem Ferdowsi. The Shahhnameh chronicles the first fifty monarchs in Iran’s history. The Boston Experimental Theatre Company devised a surrealist adaptation of Ferdowsi’s story. The production was rooted in organic connections among artists within a minimalist production design.







Dissidence in Turkey: Elections and the Struggle for Political Legitimacy

March 19, 2015

This talk discussed how under the incumbency of the Justice and Development Party (AKP), the country’s initial turn to consolidating and internalizing liberal democratic norms has since 2013, taken a sharp drive. Although Turkey has not been plagued by economic instability since the early 200’s, there seems to be no doubt that the country is in the midst of an ever-escalating political crisis.






HonoScreen Shot 2015-05-04 at 8.26.33 AMr Diaries: Women’s Lives and Human Rights

March 4, 2015

This event held a series of speakers to discuss women rights issues with a special focus on the Middle East. The documentary Honor Diaries was screened, followed by a speech by Raheel Raza, Panel discussion among activists, and a Q&A session. Ravel Raza is a Muslim Pakistani-Canadian journalist, author, and activist and serves as director of Interfaith Affairs.








Film Series Spring 2015Global Fridays Film Series — Focus on Food & Farming

February 6-May 1, 2015

The Pardee School of Global Studies’ spring film series focused on ‘Food & Farming.’ Through the screening of 10 films, the series aimed to promote understanding of global food production and the ethical issues the industry faces. This collaboration allowed for the discussion and increased awareness of all the stakeholders affected by our choices in food.






Ahmad_Young-Turks-flyer1The Young Turks & the Ottoman Nationalities 1908-18

December 2, 2014

Professor Feroz Ahmad, Chair of the Department of International Relations and Political Science at Yeditepe University in Istanbul discussed Young Turks and the Ottoman Nationalities in the 1908-1918 decade. This event served as aprt of the Pardee School of Global Studies’  Inaugural Year events.





iraq talk

Can Iraq be Saved? With Retired General Joseph Núñez

November 19, 2014

Retired General Joseph Núñez gave a presentation discussing the future of Iraq. He drew upon five years of experience working with the Department of Defense and the Department of State in the country. He found that American media does a poor job of portraying the nation as it actually is. It is uncertain if Iraq will reach a point of sustained stability again, and if it does, it will be wholly different from the Iraq that exists today.






ISIL: How Did We Get Here?

November 11, 2014

SMSC co-sponsored another event with the Arabic club. A panel of BU professors evaluated the causes behind ISIL’s rise to power in the Levant and what the future might hold for the fundamentalist group.








paul cobb

Paul Cobb: The Sultan’s Crusader: Crossing Boarders with Johann Schiltberger, 1396-1427

November 4, 2014

Drawing upon SMSC’s theme of “Crossing Borders” for the 2014-2015 year, on November 4 Paul Cobb, a professor from the Unversity of Pennsylvania, gave a lecture exploring the travels of a young Bavarian boy during the time of the Crusades. Johann Schiltberger was captured by the sultan in 1396 and eventually became a servant to Timur. Cobb paid special attention to Schiltberger’s changing religious identity as he moved from predominantly-Christian Europe to a predominantly-Muslim region. The text left behind by Schiltberger provides insight into his life, and the experiences shared by many European servants during the crusades.




Dr. Curt Rhodes: Syrian Refugee Youth

October 29, 2014

SMSC co-sponsored an event with Harvard to discuss the challenges Syrian youth face during the current conflict. Dr. Rhodes is the founder of Questscope, an organization committed to improving the lives of at-risk young Syrians. He drew upon his years of experience working with adolescents in the region to evaluate the trauma Syrians currently face and how they may cope with the memory of these events in the future.





Democracy in the Muslim World: Reporting from Indonesia

October 27, 2014

Emmy-Award winning journalist Kira Kay joined a panel of BU professors on October 27 to discuss the current political climate in Indonesia. Two of Kay’s features were screened; the first focused on the transition from dictatorship to democracy, marked by the 2014 presidential election in which Joko Widodo, a politician from a lower-class background, was named the winner. The second piece documented Aceh province’s adoption of Sharia law. The event ended with a panel discussion and question and answer period.




Qahwa and Calligraphy

Qahwa and Calligraphy

October 22, 2o14

SMSC hosted an event in conjunction with the Arabic society featuring Hajj Wafaa, an Arabic calligrapher. Attendees learned about the precision necessary to create works or art from a written script. Coffee and Middle Eastern was served, and the event was enjoyed by all.







Adrienne Fricke: the Syrian Refugee Crisis and Higher Education

October 22, 2o14

Human rights consultant Adrienne Fricke gave a lecture at the Pardee School covering the lack of educational resources available for Syrian refugees in the midst of the nation’s Civil War. The country had once subsidized university-level education, making a bachelor’s degree affordable and accessible for most Syrian youth. Now, the vast majority of young Syrian adults are unable to access education in refugee camps. The surrounding states that host refugees all have their own set of challenges in ensuring that this generation does not get left behind. This issue is particularly crucial for women, who have seen low rates of enrollment since the beginning of the conflict.




Mid-East Feast

October 20, 2014

The Mid-East Feat on October 20 allowed students to sample Middle Eastern food and music and learn more about MENA courses being offered in the spring semester. Students had an opportunity to mingle with language professors and gather information on the BU study abroad programs in the Middle East.






Fall 2014 Film Series

Global Fridays Film Series: Promoting Cultural Understanding through Film

September 12-December 5, 2014

The Pardee School and SMSC hosted a film series showcasing Israeli and Palestinian directors on Fridays throughout the fall semester. The various films highlighted the different perspectives of the film makers on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and what daily life is like for those who inhabit the region.





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Preserving Gains in Afghanistan: What Will Happen to the $100 Billion U.S. Investment in Reconstruction?

September 9, 2014

Gene Aloise, the Deputy Inspector General from the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), gave a presentation at the Pardee School of Global Affairs. When adjusted for inflation, the US has spent nearly as much money rebuilding Afghanistan as it did on the Marshall Plan, and SIGAR has found that these funds have been largely ineffective in ensuring a stable future and plan for development for the nation. A lack of oversight led to widespread corruption, meaning the funds spent saw very little return. Aloise outline key issues in the rebuilding process and possible solutions.